Why it’s hard to sell a mobile game for 99 cents – with Arctic Empire co-founder Josh Garellek

Episode #433

There are fewer truisms in the business world than success takes experimentation. Entrepreneurs are inherently scientists as they come up with an idea, hypothesize its path, test a theory, assess the outcome and start the process all over again. The challenge is that the controlled lab of the scientist resembles very little of what is happening in the chaotic and frenetic world of the mobile startup. This axis of change is what makes mobile entrepreneurs and startups so interesting to all of us – how do they succeed in an industry whose pace of change is accelerating moment by moment.

Today we get a glimpse of just that type of entrepreneur in just that type of mobile business. Meet Josh Garellek, co-founder and CEO of Arctic Empire, a mobile game developer located in Ottawa, Canada.

If there is a mobile experiment, Josh has tried it. If there is a business model to tinker with, Josh has done it. And now he has turned his sights to gamifying the common bet with his company’s latest app, Bet To Win (link to AppStore).

This episode didn’t start – or end – where it was supposed to which is GREAT for you. What was supposed to be a focus on the social aspects of mobile app development — how to make apps sticky — was derailed at minute 1 with discussions around awareness making, getting downloads and paying for services to help at both. We then spiralled into discussions on the disparity between console game pricing and mobile game pricing, the lessons Josh has learned while having his products downloaded over 350,000 times and the future of mobile betting.



Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

1. What is Arctic Empire 2:20
2. How did you get 200,000 downloads for your first app 6:00
3. Why use the “Free Game a Day” service – what did it cost 8:15
4. What happened after the free day 9:00
5. What would you do differently for your first game 14:00
6. What is your app revenue model 15:30
7. What have your learned from all your revenue experiments 17:00
8. Do in-app in-game purchases really work? 22:00
9. Why is there a different opinion on what a mobile game should cost versus a console game 24:30
10. Why the game developer is this generations waiter 26:45
11. What is so unique to Bet To Win 30:30
12. Why do people need this app? 33:10
13. How has social tie-in helped move game downloads 35:15
14. Why not focus on your existing games and users to drive revenue instead of building new games 36:45
15. How does Bet To Win make money 38:45
16. What about cultural views on the idea of promoting betting through mobile 44:40
17. How do you make this app sticky 48:00
18. What’s the big lesson you’ve learned from your 2 years in the business 54:30

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About Josh Garellek
Josh Garellek Arctic Empire
CEO & Co-Founder, Arctic Empire
Josh Garellek is the CEO & Co-Founder of Arctic Empire, a mobile games and development studio. Having studied Marketing at Yeshiva University, he brings with him five plus years of online marketing, advertising, and sales experience, a background in product and project management, as well as experience with working with some of the largest video sites on the Internet. He is passionate about new technologies and has a deep passion for hockey and other team sports.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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